Chicago’s ‘Safe Passage’ Program, Making Routes Safe for Gang-bangers

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While New York has ‘stop and frisk,’ Chicago has ‘Safe Passage’ routes.

Walking to school in Chicago, particularly on the South Side, is dangerous. The Chicago Public Schools have come up with a way to deal with it via a program that designates “Safe Passage” routes for schoolchildren. It is part of their ‘Culture of Calm’ program.

The program was started in 2009 with Stimulus money.

It includes the hiring of community workers who wear fluorescent green vests and fan out around schools to serve as the eyes and ears of the neighborhood.

They give weekly briefings to someone on what lawns were mowed, how many potholes were filled, and so on. They serve as crossing guards.

There are also signs to alert people that a particular route is a designated safe passage zone. If they say it, it must be so, right?

SAFE PASSAGE

Photo of police on a stop and frisk mission alongside a photo of a safe passage sign

The program costs $16 million dollars and it’s growing as all government programs tend to do.

Some areas of Chicago are so dangerous that children walking to school can’t divert even a block or two without running into a different gang. Many areas are war zones.

Rahm Emanuel, who promoted this program, said “The children of this city should know that they have the strength and support of the entire city behind them.  From every city department to every neighbor and family, we all must play a role in making sure our children are safe and have every opportunity to succeed.”

There was a shooting in one of these safe passage routes on Monday. It wasn’t the first time.

Monday’s shooting left a 21-year old man on life support and four others wounded, three critically. The gunman opened fire on people standing near a bus stop at the busy intersection in the safe passage route.

The shooting happened outside the Uptown Baptist Church. The pastor, Michael Allen tweeted that he heard 20 gunshots. “Blood pools at church steps. Pray for us,” Allen said on Twitter.

People who live in the neighborhood said that the gang-bangers regularly hang out in the area. Someone hasn’t told them it was a safe passage route.

So much for the $16 million dollar eyes and ears of the people in fluorescent green vests. The gang-banger who committed the crime escaped, so far unidentified, as happens more often than not. Sixteen million dollars a year could have hired quite a few more cops for the South Side.

These shootings would be greatly reduced if they would forget their pie-in-the-sky ‘culture of calm’ ideas and engage in a serious ‘stop and frisk’ program. The gang-bangers hang out – with their illegal guns – wherever they want – and no one is bothering them while the people wearing vests are checking potholes.

This isn’t rocket science.

New York went from over 2,000 murders in a city of 8.2 million to 419 murders last year. Chicago had over 500 murders in a city of 2.7 million. If you are going to take away peoples’ guns and their right to protect themselves, you had better have something in place beyond unarmed people in vests checking to see if lawns have been mowed.

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